First off, congratulations – it IS something to celebrate when we are able to churn out a song that articulately expresses EXACTLY what our hearts have been trying to express – a process that oftentimes comes with much pondering, seeking, wrestling and frustration! After your song has been birthed, many would ask: ‘So…what do I do with it now’? Here are some of my thoughts that I hope will help you consider what to do next:
Define Its Purpose!
As worship songwriters, it is our mandate and responsibility to steward the messages and revelations given to us by the Lord for our songs. Sometimes, they may be songs that are primarily for our personal worship – a sacrifice and offering of praise not for anyone else to hear but the Lord. Other times, they may be songs that are supposed to be heard and sung by our communities, local churches, and the global church. That doesn’t mean the song that has a global influence has more value than a personal song for the Lord, it just serves a different purpose, but each is of value in the eyes of the Lord.
Refinement is Part of the Process!
Remember, when you get Heaven’s download for a new song – it’s just the first part of the process. It is rare to receive a song that is perfect as it is, because you would often need to go through the process of ‘mining out’ and refining your song. We need to partner with the Holy Spirit in our craft and skill, and in the spirit of excellence to help the song maximise its potential. I once wrote a song called ‘Hand in His’. It took me a couple of years to write because I felt the message behind it was so weighty that I needed to say it absolutely right. Sometimes we need to allow ourselves to go through process and seasons in order to have the right words to say. Patience is key; to say exactly the right thing is worth the wait!
Collaborate in Community!
If you take a look at the top songs on CCLI, you’ll notice that pretty much all of the songs have multiple songwriters working on it. That’s because 2 is always better than 1! Songs are able to go to places you never expect when you have another creative’s input. Don’t play the ‘possessive’ game, especially if you are writing songs to be a blessing for the local church, work with people you have chemistry with and trust. Working with other songwriters is always helpful in receiving feedback to what is working and what is not!
Record, Record, Record!
Once you have refined your song to the best that it can be, it’s time to to get your songs arranged and produced! A producer’s job is to add the ‘dressing’ to the song, so that a full band accompaniment and the like can bring your song to life! Hence, Awaken Generation set up over very own Production House to serve artists in their songwriting and production journey. Post-production entails song editing, mixing (to me one of the MOST important stages of recording that sets apart a GREAT song from an average one – invest in a great mixing engineer), and Mastering. Recording your songs IS an investment – I saved up $5,000 in 2008 working in a retail shop in my university days to record my first EP.
Let It Be a Blessing!
Songs meant for the church need an opportunity to be heard! At Awaken Generation, we always make it a point to include at least one of our original songs in all our worship sets that we do for Worship Nights, Convergences or church ministries! Songs that carry the heart’s cry and DNA of our local community and nation are powerful because they were written from the soil of the nation! We need to be singing these songs. Find opportunities to use your song live, but also remember we are in a digital age, where getting your songs accessible to an almost infinite world is possible through media like YouTube, Spotify and iTunes. Personally, I’ve been using a third-party distributor (www.tunecore.com) for many years now and have been pretty happy with how they’ve managed my online music catalogue.
I hope these tips will help you in your songwriting journey. All the best!